Your Morning Dump… Where Rondo’s camp is awesome

camp rondo

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump. 

“I don’t know who enjoys this more, myself or the kids,” Rondo said.

He shakes hands with almost everyone in the building, does Q&A sessions, hops in games, and chats with campers and parents that he’s known for years, since he started the camp in his hometown the summer after his 2006-07 rookie season in Boston.

Numerous professional athletes hold sports camps, but all too often those athletes make one short appearance, only to sign autographs or take pictures.

Rondo, as usual, is different.

“Will we see you tomorrow?” campers ask as they head out after the daily session that ends at 4 p.m.

“I’ll be here every day,” Rondo tells them.

Globe: Rajon Rondo’s camp has special feel

In the midst of free agent craziness where a lot of people are getting really out of control, I highlight this as a bit of a respite; a reprieve from the madness of sources and viral Tweets gleaning the league’s future from alleged HTML codes deep within LeBron James’ official website.

This story by Baxter Holmes is a little glimpse into Rondo himself, which is rare.  It’s stories like this that get ignored, or worse, brushed off and dismissed, by the Felgers of the world who simply want Rondo gone because he’s curt and rude with the media.

I’m not going to go into a huge thing about Rondo here.  I’m just going to leave it at this:  Every single story like this that I’ve read about Rondo has been the same.  He’s always taken time out for children and fans he meets in his travels.  His charity work… his camp… his random meetings… all the same.

Rondo might be traded, he might not.  If he’s traded in a package that makes the team better, then fine, that’s a smart business decision.  But wanting a Rondo trade based strictly on character is a mistake, and this story is another in a long stack of evidence that proves it.

Page 2:  Marcus Smart’s heartbreaking, yet inspiring story

Near the end of [his older brother] Toddʼs life, Marcus perched himself at the end of his brotherʼs bed and fed him rolled-up socks to shoot at the wastebasket, the only thing Todd could hoist in the advanced stages of his disease.

When he died, his surviving brothers corralled a sobbing Smart and sat him down.

“Iʼll never forget it,” Smart said. “They told me, ‘Todd is gone, Mom is sick, Dad is sick, and you are all we’ve got.’ My older brother Jeff told me, ‘I had my chance, Mikey had his chance, and we blew it. Now itʼs your chance. Weʼre depending on you.’”

Marcus nodded, but he was only 10 years old. He was too young to understand, a little boy who was angry his brother was taken from him.

Well-meaning family friends tried to console him by reminding him he was tough, just like his mom, just like Todd, but the toughness Marcus embraced was misguided.

He broke windows and pelted rocks at strangers. Marcus had good aim; he nailed a guy on a bike, only it was a gang member who left Smart running for his life, bullets whizzing past his ear.

The violence, the drugs and the gangs were a regular feature of his South Dallas landscape, a gritty canvas that corrupted his brother Michael, who nearly died from a cocaine overdose.

“I could have ended up just like Mikey,” Marcus said. “I was all around it. Saw my friends sell drugs, saw them buy them from my brother.

ESPN Boston:  Outhustling his demons

Just a spectacular piece from Jackie MacMullan on Marcus Smart’s troubled past and bright future.  I can’t imagine the pressure on a kid at 10 years old being told, his brother having just passed, being told by another brother that everyone is sick or screwed up and he’s the only chance the family has.

TEN!  He was still in elementary school and he’s suddenly the family’s only hope for salvation.

Amazing.  Moments like this not only make it clear what drives him, it makes clear the reasons for his own “character issues.”  Moments like this are embedded deep in a person’s brain.  This is part of his DNA now.  That moment is part of who he is for the rest of his life.

Both of these stories today aren’t even really about basketball, but more about how basketball fits into the lives of these two guards.  Both of these stories pull back the curtain, Smart’s more than Rondo’s, to show the humanity behind players that many fans fail to recognize.

All too often, we all are guilty of demanding inhuman things from mortal men in basketball uniforms.  They are supposed to run forever and never get tired because of their youth.  They are supposed to be perfectly composed gentlemen when microphones are shoved in their faces minutes after emotional losses.  They are supposed to have all the time in the world to make every appearance, sign every autograph, and take every picture, as if their celebrity allots them a few more than the 24 hours the rest of us get.

Marcus Smart’s story is a story repeated millions of time throughout America, with one major omission: the ability to play a professional sport.  Smart’s a lucky guy in that sense, and he seems to know it.  He’s turning the negatives of his past into positives on the court.  But be sure, he carries those with him regularly, and it’s important to include those in our view of him as a person… a person who happens to be a member of the Boston Celtics.

And Finally…

“As far as watching free agency, it’s hilarious,” said Stevens. “Is that the best way to put it? I just sit back and enjoy it.”

Perfect word for what’s happening.  People in Cleveland are losing their goddam minds over this LeBron mess.  They’re like a girl who heard through a friend that her ex-boyfriend was interested in getting back together… and shows up at his doorstep in a wedding dress and book of baby names.

Chill out Cleveland… you look way too desperate.  Play it cool.

The rest of the links:

ESPN Boston:  Short memory Smart  |  Celtics sign Smart, Young  |  Ainge talks trades and offseason activity  |  Herald:  Ainge talks LeBron James & trade with Cavs  |  Brad Stevens, Tyler Zeller connect  |  CSNNE:  Shaughnessy:  NBA is about butt kissing  |  C’s working out “final details” of Bradley contract  |  C’s bring in Zeller & Thornton in “good deal” |  Zeller has whirlwind week  |  Globe:  Ainge has no stake in LeBron’s decision  |  Celtics enjoying NBA’s hilarious summer  |  MassLive:  Stevens doesn’t know how trade will impact non-guaranteed players  |  Ainge assesses Thornton, Zeller